Year 12 English Standard Practice Paper 1 | FREE Download

How ready are you for Paper 1? Well, now you can test your knowledge with our new English Standard Paper 1!

Written by:
Matrix English Team

Here is our Year 12 English Standard Practice Paper 1 for you to prepare for your HSC!

For many students, one of the hardest parts of the HSC is the first section of Paper 1 because it contains unseen texts!

Analysing texts you’ve never seen before is already a challenging task in and of itself. Attempting it under time constraints makes it even more challenging!


So, how do you prepare for Paper 1?


The more you practise answering unseen text questions, the better you will perform in your exams!

This is why we’ve put together this practice paper for you. Download it today and we’ll send you a marking guideline and some sample responses 24 hours later.


What are some strategies for tackling Paper 1?

Here are 5 must-dos for doing paper 1!

  1. Read the questions first
  2. Don’t just read the texts, analyse it!
  3. Plan your responses
  4. Get the marks in the bag
  5. Watch the clock! (AKA, Cut Your Losses)


Rule 1: Read the questions first

Before you flip to the unseen texts, read the questions first!

Then read them again.

And again!

You need to know exactly what you’re looking for in a text before you start reading them. You’ll only waste more time if you read the text without paying attention to the questions first.


Rule 2: Don’t just read, analyse

You have limited time in a Paper 1 exam. So, don’t waste any time!

When you read your texts, ensure you keep the question in your mind. This will help you focus your reading and find your answer.

You want to have some rough answers of all the unseen questions in your head before the reading time is over.


Rule 3: Plan

Remember, you only have 45 minutes to complete Section 1 of Paper 1.

So, it’s crucial that you plan before you write.

Planning before you write will help you save precious time!

After you’ve read the texts and analysed them, take 5 minutes to quickly jot down the answers in a blank page before you forget it!

Planning at the start will help focus your thoughts and you’ll write better responses and guarantee a better result.


Rule 4: Get the marks in the bag!

Be tactical. If you know a question is worth 7 marks out of 20, don’t leave it until last. Get those marks, first!

Guarantee yourself solid marks by completing the higher mark questions first, and the lower mark questions last.

Remember it’s always easier to get the first 50% of the marks on offer than the final 50%.

So, make sure you attempt all the questions.

This means….


Rule 5: Watch the clock (AKA, Cut Your Losses!)

Time is of the essence for Paper 1.

Use 10 minutes out of the total 90 minutes to plan (5 minutes for each section).

Which means… you have a total of 40 minutes to complete each section.

So, each mark is worth 2 minutes of your time.

So, as you’re completing the paper, calculate how much time you need to spend on each question.

For example, don’t spend more than 14 minutes on the first 7-mark question.

But what if I run out of time?

Stop! Move onto the next question!

Once your 40 minutes is up for section 1, stop the short answers and start the extended response!



Are you ready?

Below are the questions for the Matrix HSC English Standard Practice Paper 1. Download our paper for the unseen texts. We’ll send you the Marking Guidelines and response suggestions 24 hours later!


year-12-english-standard-practice-paper-1-free-download paper cover image (2)




Matrix HSC English Advanced Practice Paper 1 (Feb 2021)

Reading time – 10 minutes
Working time – 1 Hour and 30 Minutes


Section I

20 marks
Attempt Questions 1-4
Allow about 45 minutes for this section


Your answers will be assessed on how well you:

  • Demonstrate understanding of human experiences in texts
  • Analyse, explain and assess the ways human experiences are represented in texts

Question 1

Text 1 – Painting

Explain how Through the Looking Glass represents the experience of living.



Question 2

Text 2 – Poem

How does the poet invite the reader to share in the experience represented in the poem? Make reference to the text in your response.



Question 3

Text 2 and Text 3 – Poem and Fiction extract

How do these texts use a variety of language forms and features to communicate ideas about belonging to a family?



Question 4

Text 4 – Lecture extract

How does this text explore the challenges of writing about the life experience of dead people?


Want to learn to ace Paper 1?

Gain the confidence to tackle unseen sections with HSC experts. Learn more.



Written by Matrix English Team

The Matrix English Team are tutors and teachers with a passion for English and a dedication to seeing Matrix Students achieving their academic goals.

© Matrix Education and, 2023. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matrix Education and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Related articles